Upset by San Francisco’s extraordinary decision to issue licenses to same-sex couples, a man tried to make a citizen’s arrest on a 75-year-old volunteer who said he had performed 30 to 50 ceremonies since Monday.
And also at City Hall, two Christians were arrested for protesting the ceremonies.
Jake Olthof, 37, from nearby Santa Cruz, watched Bill Jones conduct a same-sex wedding then calmly told Jones he was under arrest, the San Francisco Examiner reported.
Jones, who says he is homosexual, recounted to the paper: “We all started walking, and he said, ‘I’m putting you under citizen’s arrest,’ and I started laughing, and he said ‘no really, I’m going to arrest you.’ And I said, ‘Oh great, I love a man in a uniform, bring him on.'”
Olthof told the Examiner he decided to make the move Thursday after reading a newspaper story about Mayor Gavin Newsom’s decision to begin issuing the licenses Feb. 12.
The Santa Cruz man, who said he studied the issue in a law library, emphasized he took action only out of respect for the law, not for religious or “homophobic” reasons, the San Francisco daily said.
“Civil disobedience is something somebody should do as an individual,” Olthof told the Examiner. “If you break the law, you get arrested, you go into it knowing that … [you should be] willing to sit in jail for what [you] believe in.”
He continued: “But when the government says that we’re not going to enforce the laws because we disagree with it for whatever reason, then I think that it’s an assault on the rule of law.”
After being bounced between the Police and Sheriff’s Departments, Olthof finally was informed the citizen’s arrest fell under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff.
The Sheriff’s Department’s position, however, is that the marriages are legal.
Jones told the Examiner he was getting a little worried after he realized Olthof was not joking.
“The guy was serious, I mean he was dead serious. I’m the one who was laughing him off,” Jones said. “But the point is, I have tickets for ‘The Lion King’ tonight and I didn’t want to spend it in the hoosegow [jail].”
Also on Thursday, the Sheriff’s Department arrested two Christian protesters for trespassing in City Hall.
Nathaniel Engart, 18, and Michael Marcavage, 24, were part of a group of eight that knelt in front of the County Clerk’s office and sang Christian hymns.
When sheriffs asked them to leave, the two men stayed while the rest complied.
“Two of them announced that they wanted to be arrested on TV,” said department spokeswoman Eileen Hearst. “And while we couldn’t accommodate their TV request, they were arrested.”
Meanwhile, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger took action yesterday, ordering the state’s attorney general to stop San Francisco’s issuance of same-sex marriage licenses in defiance of state law.
Schwarzenegger sent a letter to Attorney General Bill Lockyer ordering him “to take immediate steps” to have a court declare the city’s actions illegal.
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